Antonio Brown is a dominant WR3 for the Buccaneers, but his impact is much greater than his spot on the depth chart.
The Buccaneers will probably never have Antonio Brown on their depth chart anywhere higher than third, but that isn’t a bad problem for the defending champs. AB looked great down the stretch last season and through the playoffs, but we’ve already seen that same player isn’t back in Tampa this year.
The Brown that took the field in pewter and red last season was a great receiver, one of the best in the NFL, in fact, but it still wasn’t the old AB that was one of the best wide receivers of all time.
Yes, Brown deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. Personal issues aside, Brown is undoubtedly one of the best at the position ever, and that player was a force to reckon with for a majority of the 2010s.
It looked like the Brown of old was gone, and all we would see were the final years of a once-great NFL career bouncing around the league, but the old Antonio Brown isn’t actually gone.
If there ever was proof that time machines did exist, the resurgence of the mid-2010s AB in Tampa would be the first place to start. After a stellar offseason, every informed Bucs fan knew Brown was set up for a great full season in Tampa, but even that fell short of expectations.
Brown was a monster in the first game of the season, and watching him play against the Cowboys brought back memories from a much simpler time of his career. With five receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown, AB was the most efficient receiver on the field for either team by a mile.
Brown left poor Cowboys corners in the dust on more than one occasion, and what can Dallas do to stop it? Do you pull a starting corner off Mike Evans or Chris Godwin? History clearly says that is a very bad idea.
So now, what does an opposing defense do? Play more nickel? You almost have to against the Bucs now, but who lines up against which receiver? Mike Evans had a slower game in Week 1, but he is still one of the best receivers in the NFL. Godwin had a huge game, and defenses have to account for him too.
Regardless of what opposing defensive coordinators decide, Brown still has the upside to be the best receiver on the field against any team in the league, and the Buccaneers will reap the benefits of this for the rest of the year.
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